How often do you backup your WordPress website and database? Most businesses we speak to don’t have an automatic backup process in place, even though it can protect their businesses from some major problems and outages that can be costly. Especially when you consider how easy (and often, free) these processes are to set up.

Why should I back up?

There are many technical reasons why you should backup your website, but there is really only ever one business reason, cost. How much would it cost your company to set up a new website if anything happened to the current one? Even if you have a recent backup, it can take a good hour or two of someone to restore the website database and files. During this time, how many sales could be lost? How much credibility might your company and brands lose while the website is offline? How many other duties and tasks may have to be put on hold until this can be resolved? None of this is great for business, particularly if you run an online shop where orders and transactions may also go missing if the backup wasn’t recent enough. A good question to ask is: how much data can I afford to lose if something goes wrong? An hour? A day? A week?

How often should I back up?

Having recent backups protects your business. There is no ‘golden rule’ to how often you should backup: the ideal frequency will be determined by how your business works and how you make use your website. Bear in mind that the backup itself will store any changes made, so a good rule of thumb is to take backups both before and after making any big changes (whether these be changes to content and website structure, or plugins or even upgrading your WordPress installation itself).

If you use your website mainly as a business listing to tell people about your business, or as a brochure website to showcase products and services, then you can probably afford to backup your website every month or so after making major edits and changes. However, if you run an ecommerce webshop, or take any kind of online orders, enquiries or anything that visitors contribute, we recommend backing up at least once a day.

The reasoning here, is when you restore from backup you will lose everything since that backup was taken.

Example

So for example, if you need to restore your website at 4pm one Thursday afternoon, but have automated backups that run at midnight each night, then everything that took place on Thursday will be lost, since these enquiries or website changes will not be in the backup set. For this reason, many backups we set in place for people have had twice-daily in some cases.

How can I back up?

WordPress’ Native Export / Import

Luckily, with WordPress, you have no shortage of options! Even without any additional plugins, coding or setup, you can export your WordPress content using the Settings → Export section of the website. Most WordPress versions and themes will let you selectively backup sections separately (such as content, comments, categories and tags). Beware: this will not back up everything, just the content itself. It won’t include your WordPress installation (files) themselves, or the plugins or theme you use. These can be easily backed up by FTP separately if you make a copy of all files in the website.

Best WordPress Backup Plugins

Building on these native features, there are a number of good WordPress plugins you can use to help you manage your backups. Please note: not all hosts will allow all these plugins for security reasons. The Simplepage Hosting service includes extra WordPress security and built-in automatic provisions for backing up your WordPress website, so you won’t need, or be able to install these plugins with Simplepage hosting (see our post here about disallowed plugins to find out more ). We do allow Vaultpress however, but if you have a regular WordPress hosting account elsewhere, these may be helpful so we’ve listed them here for completeness:

  • Backup Buddy is one of the more popular premium WordPress backup plugins, using this plugin you can schedule daily, weekly or monthly backups automatically. It has provisions to automatically store your backups in Dropbox, Rackspace Cloud servers and Amazon S3 in addition to the traditional FTP backups.

  • Updraft Plus is a free WordPress backup plugin which allows you to create a complete backup of your WordPress site and store it on the cloud or download to your computer. The plugin supports scheduled backups as well as allowing you to run ‘on demand’ backups as needed.

  • Backup4Wordpress is another complete backup solution that is free and will backup both files and database. This one also supports scheduling and on demand backups.

  • WP DB Backup is one of the most popular WordPress backup plugins, however, this one only backs up your WordPress database, so you would need another proviison to backup files.

  • Vaultpress is an easy-to-use backup system with both daily and realtime backup options. This plugin also includes built in security scanner to ensure your website is safe, with scheduling options for the backups themselves.

In a nutshell, your backups should be driven by how you use your website. It’s worth taking into account how often you update your content, upgrade WordPress itself and the plugins (these actions cause changes to your WordPress database). However, only upgrading plugins, WordPress or making code changes (such as changing the theme of your website) are likely to result in any file changes. In some cases you may find it best to handle these backups separately.

For instance, if you run an online shop you probably want to be backing up the database at least each day, if not twice each day to help minimise any lost orders, customer information or transactions as a result of restoring your website from a backup. In this scenario you probably only need to take a new backup of your files when you make a change to your WordPress web shop, theme or plugins.

Simplepage hotsing accounts come with extra secure built in provisions for backups, so if you would like someone to help you manage this process, giving you peace of mind at the best price, why not get in touch with us?